"Special needs patient's learning difficulties weren't effectively communicated"

About: Rotherham Hospital / Gynaecology Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

My stepdaughter has severe learning difficulties and limited movement down her left hand side. She has always had challenging behaviours which have been exacerbated by hormones during her adolescence. Her behaviours are particularly aggressive and difficult when she has PMT. She has been well looked after for many years by her neurologist Dr Rittey and his team at the Ryegate Centre in Sheffield. Earlier this year Dr Rittey referred her to the gynaecology team at Rotherham General.

When we arrived, we realised that we were part of a 2 hour clinic where everyone arrives at the same time and is then seen on an ad hoc basis. My stepdaughter has little patience at the best of times and becomes bored and testy when she has to wait and cannot be reasoned with about this. We waited 20 minutes and realised that it would be impossible to sit there indefinitely as she was becoming increasingly bored.

I told reception that she was special needs and we therefore could not sit there indefinitely. Reception advised that her referral letter had not mentioned this (although it had come from the Ryegate Centre which deals with special needs children). This was presumably why we were sitting in a normal adult clinic mainly surrounded by pregnant women.

To their credit, they made sure that our appointment then happened very quickly and we therefore encountered no problems with challenging behaviour. However the fact that the system did not flag up her special needs and learning difficulties is somewhat baffling and we feel that changes to ensure this always happens would definitely be beneficial. Patient care should always be about specific individual patient needs.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››

Responses

Response from Grace Oldfield, Patient Involvement Manager, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Frankly1972, thank you for your recent posting on the Patient Opinion web site. The Chief Nurse is reviewing the lessons here and will be identifying areas for improvements both in the Trust and with other agencies. We are very sorry that this was your experience and of the impact it had on yourself and your daughter, however we appreciate you contacting us to tell us, and the valuable points that this has highlighted. Please be assured that we will use this as an opportunity to improve and also learn.

With best wishes,

Grace

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Update posted by Frankly1972 (a relative)

Thanks for the prompt response, Grace.

It wasn't a bad experience per se. We were well looked after and dealt with in timely fashion as soon we made the clinic aware of our specific circumstances. This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been proactive about it and many patients/carers may not be as direct in their communication as I was.

It's difficult enough dealing with special needs children at the best of times so it's important that the appointments system makes that process as stress free and as appropriate to the patient as possible.

Response from Grace Oldfield, Patient Involvement Manager, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Dear frankly1972, thank you for contacting us again – we were pleased to learn that, once you made your situation known to staff, you were well looked after; however we absolutely take your point that had you not been so proactive they wouldn’t have been in a position to respond to meet your step daughter’s specific needs.

We do take your point that other people may not have been as able to act as you did and therefore are concerned to learn of your experience as we try really hard to ensure accessing our services is made as easy and stress free as possible. Whilst we do have a system of flagging all adults in Rotherham registered with Learning Difficulties we need to understand how your step daughter’s needs weren’t appropriately met and how we can ensure that this doesn’t happen for others in similar circumstances. In order to best understand the root causes of this situation we would be grateful if you could let us know your stepdaughters name so we can review the referral made to us. The most appropriate way to do this would be by contacting our Patient Services Department direct on 01709 424461.

With best wishes,

Grace

  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful